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I Ain't Seen Nothing Like Her: Meet N.H.'s Pinball Wizard Mechanic

There are old pinball machines and arcade cabinets littered here and there in dive bars and restaurants all across the country.

But have you ever considered what it takes to maintain and repair them? I have.

My first job was at the six-screen theater in Keene, New Hampshire. I applied on my16th birthday. The free movies were an obvious perk, but even better was the pinball.

My coworkers and I played on breaks, or after hours. Once I had a key, I even used to skip school to hit the flippers.

By senior year, I was probably depositing half my meager paycheck back to my bosses, two quarters at a time.


’m telling you this so you can understand my excitement, when I stepped inside My Arcade Repair in Pelham New Hampshire.

My Arcade Repair is housed in a three-story (including the basement) multi-car garage.

Throughout the building, the gutted corpses of ancient gaming cabinets are frozen in states of half-reanimation.

Piles of circuit boards the size of cafeteria trays lay strewn about like old newspapers across nearly every available surface.

On one workshop table, widgets of some kind fill plastic containers that once held cherry-red ring pops and Twizzlers.

It’s an alternate universe, a pet-cemetary for vintage video games, a post-apocalyptic episode of Stranger Things. And the Dr. Frankenstein of this laboratory is Sarah St. John.

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